Homestead Update: Spring Has Sprung!
It finally feels like I can start writing about new things again; the inspiration has been flooding in as we watch the farm outside begin to awaken after a long winter slumber. I spotted a patch of daffodils poking up out of the soil and leaves left from last autumn just last week. I knew that warmer weather was here to stay! The lilacs and a few of our trees are beginning to bud up, and just the other day Tad and I found some peonies beginning to grow. The weight of winter has been lifted from my shoulders. I am spending countless hours in the greenhouse now transplanting over the seeds I started in earlier weeks. Gardening for me now begins in early February, something I never would have dreamed of doing years ago. I am excited for the mild weekend and week ahead we are expecting of temperatures in the 60s and gentle rains that will coax all of the green things out of their hiding spots.
The chickens are just as happy to be outside again as we are, strolling about the farm scratching for early signs of insects and nibbling on grass. I love seeing their mix of feathers about the yard and find it a calming sign when I return home from an errand or meeting. Our farm is about to welcome many new baby animals this year, including our 26 chicks and a litter of kittens coming any day now from one of our beloved farm cats. Our chicks have yet to come outside on grass yet; they have just turned six-weeks-old and will probably need another week or two in the brooder before we see some weather consistently in 50s and 60s. I hope once these rainy days pass we can make a little pen for them outdoors, and they can experience life outside for an hour or two.
We get almost three dozen eggs per day, and it’s been such a treat to watch them go out the door with our customers. I always loved selling our products at various fairs and markets, but I am truly passionate about selling our produce. It just fills me with such pride and joy!
Our plants are officially growing! We’ve moved them into the covered porch again this year, covering the walls with thick plastic sheets and heating the rooms with space heaters. It stays in the 60s overnight and has gotten up to 85 degrees on a sunny day. They plants are growing the best they ever have, and I am so excited to see this year’s garden. It’s been a bit interesting this year - 85% of our garden is being direct seeded yet we’ve expanded so much that I have over twice as many plants started as last year. I am beginning to wonder if we’ve bitten off more than we can chew by planting the entire acre, but it also fills me with hope that we will be able to stock more produce than ever before.
We are currently two weeks away from the last predicted spring frost in our gardening zone. By that time the aronia berries will be officially moved (yay!), the soil will be plowed and tilled, and the first plants will go into the ground. As we slowly but surely move in the direction of spring, we will continue to work our magic behind the scenes starting plants, creating new products, etc etc. I love this time of year. What do you love most about spring?